AN: Wow, it's been too long since I've looked at this fic. I only just remembered how much I love it, so I decided to take the time to finish this chapter properly and update this. I'm sorry for the ridiculous wait, but here it is. It's not the longest chapter, but the next one will make up for it, I promise.

Now, on with the creepy Russian goodness~

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I do not own Hetalia

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Trying

"Come on, I don't know what you're so upset about, Hannes," Sofie huffed, practically having to run to keep up with her brother. He was such a stubborn pain at times. "Yes, you've had the tradition between you for years but things change. It could just be a joke – you never know." At least, she hoped it was a joke, especially because Matthew seemed really nice and polite and as though he'd have enough manners to deal with issues like this properly.

"You should know by now that we don't write letters to joke, Sofie," Hannes ground out, running his hand roughly through his hair. "Emails and phone calls, yes. Not letters."

"Well what are you going to do? You're not going to just—"

"Shut up, alright? Just be quiet for a minute. I'm gonna go talk to my boss. Go home for now and I'll see you tomorrow." Sofie recoiled at his biting tone and stopped trying to walk beside him. She really wanted to catch up to him and beat him around the head for being such an idiot but decided against it. He seemed really cut up, and it wasn't hard to see why. They'd been good friends for a long time, and whenever Sofie saw them together at the tulip festival (when Hannes wasn't being a jerk and let her tag along with him), she knew exactly what friendship was supposed to look like.

The Belgian stuck her tongue out at Hannes' retreating back and pulled out her phone, tapping out a quick message before going in search for some much needed chocolate.

You'd better not be going to tell your boss to stop the arrangements for next year, Hannes Kalle! Just think about how much you care about Matthew and for god's sakes, just talk to him about it before doing anything stupid!


Everything seemed...well, Matthew wanted to use the word 'surreal' but that just didn't seem to fit. It was more than just surreal – there wasn't even enough right with the situation for it to be just a thought of as strange. With the way his skin was prickling and his heart was pounding with uneasiness, he felt like everything around him was waiting with baited breath for something horrific to happen. So when nothing happened, when all Ivan would do was watch him from the study window with a smile on his face and a little wave of his hand, it made everything ten times worse.

Matthew didn't think Ivan kidnapped him. When he felt well enough to get up and walk around, he showed him around his house and let him go outside. But don't wander off too far, he had said with a small giggle, which made a cold chill ghost down his spine. If the Russian had kidnapped him, then he would have locked him up. That's how the whole kidnapping process went, right? Being locked up with handcuffs and chains and ties with only some bread and water to feed on? But still, he had to wonder...

As he went back inside, he tried to remember what happened on his birthday. He remembered how upset he was, the letter, and he remembered seeing Ivan but...

And then he remembered looking at his photographs and hiding them. And fire, and being scared. That wasn't possible. No, it couldn't have been possible because Ivan would have told him if his house was on fire because that would have been the right thing to do. Matthew clutched at the front of his shirt as an unpleasant feeling settled inside his gut.

"How are you feeling this morning, Matthew? Did you have a nice walk outside?"

"Yes, thank you," Matthew said quietly, pulling at the ends of his sweater sleeves with shaking fingers. "Can I ask you something?"

Ivan stood up and gestured for the Canadian to take his seat. "You don't need to ask." He placed his large hands on Matthew's shoulders once he was seated and started to massage them. "You're very tense. Don't be nervous, Matvey. You can always tell me anything."

The blond swallowed and tried to relax under his strong touch. "I keep imagining things. I think it may have been a bad dream o-or something." He ran his tongue along his bottom lip and worried at it, unable to calm down. "But these things I'm thinking of feel real, and I just want to know the truth."

Ivan's hands became gentler, almost caressing. "What is it?"

"I see fire and I feel like I'm being chased and...I feel scared. A-And I see your face and I just want to know, what really happened on my birthday?"

Those hands kept caressing, fingers even coming up to trace the curve of his neck. He sighed and leant down to rest his lips in his hair, just above his ear. Matthew shuddered at the sensation of his breath ghosting across his sensitive skin. "You were very confused and very hurt, Matthew. I just wanted to take you away so you wouldn't have to spend your birthday alone thinking about the others that didn't care enough to wish you well. There was a small fire – a log fell out of the fireplace but we put it out. Nothing bad happened – I wouldn't have let anything happen." There was a slight accusatory note to his tone which both made Matthew bristle and feel guilty at the same time. Had Ivan really honestly come to help him? It was so difficult to believe but part of him really wanted it to be true, but the rest of him was still extremely wary. There were still pieces missing and Matthew was determined to have this puzzle completed.

"Alright," Matthew breathed, only just realising his mouth and throat were dry. He tried to swallow to alleviate the discomfort but to no avail. The last thing he wanted was to relive what he was seeing inside his mind. If Ivan was actually capable of making him that scared, of hurting him to the extent he was too traumatised that he forgot everything that had happened previously, then he didn't want to do anything to push him. Asking if he could leave was definitely out of the question for the time being, so whilst he waited for a safe opportunity to arise, he would make sure that he pleased Ivan in every way possible.

"Please believe me," Ivan knelt down beside the chair and rested his hands on Matthew's arms. "I know what it's like to be alone. My birthday goes by unnoticed and uncelebrated almost every year." Those eyes seemed to darken with barely-concealed pain and Matthew found he couldn't look into them anymore.

"I'm sorry," the Canadian apologised quietly, unsure of why he said it. Perhaps he was starting to believe that maybe Ivan really did want to help him, to make him happy and to care for him. It wouldn't be so bad, but he couldn't stay, not for so long. What about his boss, his people?

What about the others?

With his stomach sinking, Matthew closed his eyes and pushed the thought of the other nations out of his head. No one had called or written. He said he was used to being forgotten, that it didn't really matter, but he realised now that all he did was forget to think about being forgotten. He couldn't help being quiet or disappearing from sight, but perhaps if he wasn't so alone, if other nations paid more mind to him, it could change.

Matthew let out a long sigh and looked to Ivan once again. He was ready to smile and tell him that it would be alright, that they could make one another happy because he realised that he didn't really have anyone else, but he faltered. There was still that feeling... something still wasn't right about any of this. But for now he had to pretend that it was right so he could concentrate on going home. "Thank you. Thank you for caring. U-Uhm w-would it be alright if I went back upstairs to rest? I'm not feeling so well anymore."

Ivan's expression softened, as did his hold on Matthew's arm. "Alright. Perhaps later we could take a walk? I think you would love to see the Moskva and the Borodinsky Bridge, especially when it's dark outside." Matthew watched warily as Ivan got to his feet and held out his hand. He was about to say that it was okay, he didn't need his help to get up, but that child-like gleam in his eye made him feel guilty for wanting to refuse, so he carefully took Ivan's hand and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet.

"You're right; I would love to see those things." The Russian held onto his hand still, his grip tight (but not uncomfortably so). Matthew worried at his bottom lip slightly, unsure of where he should look or what he should say.

"I can see you're scared, Matvey," Ivan said softly, lifting the blond's chin so their eyes met directly. "Don't be scared. I am here for you; you know this, yes? I won't leave you alone or forget about you."

Matthew swallowed thickly, managed to nod, and when Ivan took his hand away and started to lead him towards the stairs, the Canadian let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding in. The fact that Ivan kept saying that he wouldn't leave him alone was unnerving, so much more so than anything else. Matthew even thought that if he admitted to kidnapping him, it would be much less worrying than him saying he wouldn't have to be alone again because Ivan would be there. Watching over him, day in and day out. Never leaving his side.

Matthew shivered at the thought of being trapped inside Ivan's house for a very long time. So many times he reprimanded his brother for saying nasty things about him, and thinking about it now, he'd made a lot of excuses for Ivan because he thought he was a misunderstood individual. It wasn't as if he'd had the most stable-minded bosses throughout his long history, unlike he or Alfred had, so it wasn't as if he could help the way he was, could he? Matthew really wasn't so sure anymore.

"Would you like me to lie with you?" Again, he choked on his refusal, especially when Ivan used that chillingly soft voice.

"I-It would be nice to have some company, yes."

For hours, Matthew lay there, and he swore that he didn't even blink. He just stared at the wall, completely tense. His skin prickled with unease and his heart was throbbing with anxiety. Not only could he hear Ivan's steady breathing, but he could feel the length of his body behind him even though they weren't touching, and he could feel those eyes burning into him from time to time. He tried not to jump whenever Ivan reached out to tousle the hair at the base of his neck, but he failed. He tried not to cry, but he failed. Silently, he let the tears roll down his cheeks and onto the pillow. He wanted to remember what happened so badly, but at the same time he didn't want to know. Ignorance was supposed to be bliss, wasn't it?

After the tears stopped, his eyes were too sore to keep open, so he closed them tight and willed himself to fall asleep. His head and heart hurt still, and if he slept he would be able to escape just for a few hours; he'd be able to dream, escape to his home where the sun made the maple leaves glitter gold in the late afternoon and he felt warm again.


1955

Everywhere he looked, every time he met their gazes, their eyes would darken with accusation and distrust. He smiled and pretended that it was all alright because they'd won; the Allies had been victorious again. His home was safe from Hitler and from Germany, and now he had a new Comrade to keep him company. The Prussian was a little much to handle at times, but Ivan knew him as a child, and he knew how to tame other nations. Breaking Gilbert in wouldn't be such a difficult task.

Despite all of this, though, there was still a sore, empty space inside his heart. Day after day he was rejected and openly despised for being Communist and, on some days, for being alive, too, it seemed. Only an hour before, after the conference ended for the day, Ivan approached Hannes Kalle. The Russian and the Dutch nation hadn't really been involved so much in the past, so he thought it would be a good idea for them to get to know one another. The more nations he knew personally, the better. Though unfortunately, as soon as the Northern nation approached him, Hannes flinched and his eyes flashed, though he covered it up with a particularly nasty scowl. He told Ivan to get the fuck out of his face and promptly stormed off. To say that Ivan was expecting the harsh rejection would have been a lie – he'd had enough hope to cloud his judgement. He thought that Hannes would greet him, perhaps shake his hand.

But no.

Ivan felt defeated. He was truly alone. No one wanted to know him, no one cared.

But it all changed when he heard a voice from behind him when he was eating his dinner alone in the hotel's restaurant. It was soft and sweet, and Ivan found he wanted to hear it again.

"I-I'm sorry if I'm being forward, but I know you're a Communist a-and you're not like everyone else... but Hannes didn't have to react the way he did."

Ivan turned to see who the innocently alluring voice belonged to, but no one was there. He looked around the room but he was alone.

"You shouldn't listen to them. They're just scared."

Before his eyes, a blond, violet-eyed person appeared in the seat across from him. Ivan blinked a few times to make sure he wasn't just hallucinating from exhaustion. He knew who this was – it was Matthew Williams. That ignorant bastard Alfred's brother.

"Why are you apologising for him? I am assuming you never told him to say what he did, yes?"

Matthew lowered his eyes. "I-I was there beside him, but you didn't see me. I didn't know what to say so I didn't say anything. I'm sorry."

Before Ivan could say anything else, Matthew disappeared again. He quietly called out, but didn't get a response. It didn't matter to Ivan, though. That emptiness had started to fade away, and he didn't feel so alone.

From then on until he returned to Moscow, Ivan saw glimpses of Matthew from time to time, but they never spoke again. It didn't matter, though. The memory of his sweet voice was enough for Ivan for the time being.

If only I could make him mine...


End Notes:

During the Cold War, the Netherlands felt threatened by the Soviet Union and Communism more specifically.

Canada and Russia had a hostile relationship during this time, but of course, even though Matthew was being polite (I can see him feeling bad for Ivan even though they're not supposed to be friends) he wasn't being Ivan's friend, Ivan made it out to be something it wasn't because even though Russia was a part of the Allies, other nations were still wary because of the C word. I did set the last part in 1955 because after Stalin's death, Lester Pearson (Canada's Foreign Minister for NATO) went to the Soviet Union to talk to Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union at the time. Canada had hoped that Stalin's death would have lessened the tension between the two of them, but it wasn't to be.